Mon, May 02, 2005 - Page 5 News List

Koizumi visits Pakistan, warns of `nuclear spillover'


Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi applauded Pakistan's efforts in the war against terrorism, but expressed concern to the Islamic nation's leader over nuclear proliferation, officials said.

Koizumi, who held private talks with Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf, also said Japan would resume loans to the South Asian country which were suspended after Islamabad's 1998 nuclear tests. The two governments also issued their first-ever joint declaration on bilateral cooperation after 53 years of diplomatic ties, pledging to deepen and widen relations.

Yesterday, Koizumi left Pakistan for Luxembourg for talks with EU officials. Koizumi, the first Japanese prime minister to visit Luxembourg, was expected assert that the proposed lifting of the EU arms embargo on China would affect the security balance in East Asia.

Before leaving Pakistan yesterday, Koizumi praised the country's efforts in the war on terror. But he also "expressed concern over the spillover of nuclear technology."

It was unclear if Musharraf offered Koizumi new information gleaned from the disgraced father of Pakistan's nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, who has confessed to supplying sensitive technology to countries including North Korea.

Koizumi said that he had told Musharraf that "Japan has been striving for elimination of nuclear weapons and for nonproliferation of nuclear weapons.

Japan -- the only country which has suffered nuclear attacks -- is a neighbor of North Korea and has been involved in six-nation talks, aimed at getting Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

The joint statement between the two nations said Japan would extend new loans to Pakistan worth ?16,400 million (US$156.5 million), mostly for fixing a canal system in eastern Punjab Province.

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